A little less foreign adventuring would do our country good
COVID is yesterday's news. Ho, hum. Fauci's tenure in charge of our lives is over, at least for now. While we wait for the next, new and improved man-made virus to hit, likely corresponding with our response to China taking over Taiwan, we need something new to keep us entertained and TV ratings up, with somebody fresh to call the shots.
Ukraine is a great opportunity. It is irresistible, like dopamine to an addict or the administration and the media. It popped up as if on cue: the curtain rises now for our next act.
Zelensky is unquestioningly a man for the time if you are a patriotic Ukrainian, as are suddenly many U.S. congressmen and foreign policy advisers.
The Man of the Hour arranged for a televised speech before the joint houses of Congress. It was a well-attended photo-op moment, and he was introduced by a near blushing Nancy Pelosi on stage, garbling broken Ukrainian.
You have to hand it to Zelensky. Speaking forcefully to America, the Ukrainian president reminded us of what American values are and what we must do. He told Biden he can choose to do a no-fly zone — "close the sky over Ukraine" — or, he says, if that's asking too much, the least Biden can do is escalate with the provocation of MiG 29s fresh from NATO. He is not yet demanding a U.S. military strike against Russia, but "strong is not weak. Strong is ready to fight." Stay tuned for further instructions.
You can count on chest-thumping Congressmen to demand "it." As with funding two dozen bio-research labs in Ukraine experimenting with deadly pathogens, what could go wrong?
It seems odd that there hasn't been much discussion of the wisdom of experimentation on increasing the speed of spread, rate of infection, and lethality of viruses. Just science being science, we are told; move along. Why America is funding this research in China and Ukraine, which the public wasn't supposed to find out about, is also a curiosity for some.
In any case, one day, the Ukraine experience, like COVID, will stop capturing our attention. We need to do some research to plan ahead for the next conflicts we can enter.
The United States is not comfortable with conflicts in the northern hemisphere that we have no part in. We don't miss out often. Not playing a leading role in Russian and Ukrainian affairs is clearly chafing. This and other foreign conflicts, our leaders have told us, have been threats to our own national security, to our freedom, and more broadly to democracy itself. We therefore must insert our military muscle to defend the homeland, however remotely.
Domestic troubles are discomforting and divisive, so let us gaze outward and see what we can do elsewhere to save the world. We can get both sides of the aisle to agree on projecting power.
We prefer to initiate these engagements, rather than being caught flat-footed when trouble breaks out anywhere. When that happens, we are in the embarrassing situation of having to then pick a side belatedly, and then justify that decision, which proved prickly in former Yugoslavia, in Somalia, in Afghanistan. Which religious faction, which tribal chief, and which religious faction and tribal chief to support in a muddled field? But we pick one. That is the important thing: to do something. Point for us. It's not clear yet what we can trade these points in for — maybe carbon credits.
Biden on August 30, 2021, called the effort to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan an "extraordinary success" and said it was due to "the incredible skill" and "selfless courage" of the U.S. military, diplomats, and intelligence professionals. We can only hope we can achieve even more extraordinary success from diplomats, intelligence, and military leadership in the next conflicts against better organized global powers than was had against the regional, tribal Taliban.
Surely, our next potential strategic moves will be thoroughly analyzed, clear-eyed, and unemotionally evaluated, anticipating several moves ahead and guided by the vast resources of our intelligence community.
Let us get ahead of the game. Our values are probably being attacked without our even noticing. Intelligence should provide a ranked list of other global conflicts we have a chance to get into in case the Ukraine thing ends abruptly one way or another, and if China drags things out before dealing with Taiwan. There are a surprising number of ongoing or imminent conflicts we could be taking the opportunity to forcefully resolve on behalf of the people there, to end their conflict, whatever it is.
The African Union (A.U.) and its Peace and Security Council (PSC) have identified some of the violent conflicts raging throughout that target-rich continent. These include six African hotbeds such as civil war in Ethiopia; sustained suffering in Sudan; conflicts in Cameroon; violent extremism and terrorism in Sahel, Mozambique, and the Horn; terror attacks in Uganda; and a deeply divided and dysfunctional Libya. We can even take credit for that last.
It will come as a relief to some that we will have no shortage of threats abroad to address, in defense of the United States, its freedom, democracy, and national security.
To others, we have many new as well as lingering domestic issues that threaten the American way of life, here in America of all places, that should hold our attention.
Rick McDowell is a writer of political philosophy and essays on the mind at The American Perspective.
Image via Max Pixel.